Proverbs 29:17

Correct thy Son

Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest;
yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.


1. This chapter in Proverbs has mentioned kings, rulers, wise men, and fathers several times. It has much to say about authority.

2. Verse 17 speaks about a father and son.

3. Verse 15 speaks about the mother and her child.

4. Both of these proverbs indicate the need for child training and discipline.

Correct thy son

1. Solomon tells fathers to correct their sons.

a. Obviously, this refers to a father and his adolescent son.

b. The father’s role is to correct his son.

c. Correct: To discipline; chasten; admonish; instruct; warn; teach; reprove; etc.

d. This is a theme mentioned several times in the book of Proverbs.

2. Correction needs to be firm but loving.

a. I Cor. 10:13 – A father should discipline his son in accordance with the way our heavenly Father treats us: “who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able.”
• God never gives us more than we can handle.
• That’s a good principle for a father to following correcting his son too.

b. Heb. 12:5-6 – God chastens us out of love. A father should always chasten his son out of love too—and not out of uncontrolled anger.
• God’s chastening is firm but loving.
• If we don’t respond to God’s gentle chastening, God may have to apply more firmness—even a scourging!
• But if there is a response to the firm but gentle correction, then no more is needed. The desired end was accomplished.

3. Prov. 19:18 – Here Solomon states that the son is to be chastened “while there is hope.”

a. In other words, when the child is young and is not yet set in his ways.

b. Someone has described children like wet cement.
• Parents have the responsibility to train their kids when they are young… like wet cement, and still pliable.
• Once the cements hardens it is much harder to shape it.
• However, it is not impossible. Nothing is impossible with God.
• Hardened cement may have to be crushed back down to powder, and then reshaped. But it can be done.
• Perhaps you are thinking that crushing your son back to powder is cruel and harsh.
• Isa. 57:15 – God dwells with him “that is of a contrite and humble spirit.”
» The word “contrite” means, “crushed, pulverized dust, ground to powder.”
» God has to continually do that to us. We can become self-willed and stubborn and hard hearted; so God has to crush us, grind us down to powder, so that He can rebuild us into the image of His Son.
» Kids who didn’t respond to their father’s training and exhortations, may have to be brought under God’s chastening hand.
» God knows how to grind each one down to powder… so that they are soft and pliable in His hand. Then they are ready to be rebuilt and restored.
» First comes the humbling; then comes the molding and shaping.

c. Thus, when Solomon speaks of chastening a son “while there is hope,” he is not saying that cement that has hardened is hopeless.
• Rather, he is saying that the hope of accomplishing discipline the “easy” way is gone.
• But God has many other ways of getting our attention—and the attention of our kids.
• The son who refused to soften his heart under his earthly father’s hand of chastisement, may have to face his heavenly Father’s hand of chastisement.
• Nothing is too hard for the Lord. Nothing is hopeless with God. Let’s not misread Proverbs 19:18.
• If he is breathing, there is hope. And if he is not saved, if he is breathing, there is hope.
• God can humble and grind to powder a stubborn backslider and restore him to the joy of salvation.
• God can also humble and grind to powder a stubborn sinner and bring him to salvation.

And he shall give thee rest; Yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

1. “And he shall give thee rest.”

a. If the son responds to his father’s chastening and reproofs when he is young, then the father has “rest.”

b. The rest in this verse seems to be connected to a proper response to the correction, and not just the fact of the correction.

c. Sometimes children do NOT respond properly to correction. That does not bring rest to the father.

d. REST: Peace of mind; a quiet spirit; a position of or sense of being settled; calm; satisfaction; etc. (various shades of meaning)

e. Rest implies that peace has been won.
• A son needs correction when he has sinned, or when he has broken the rules and disobeyed his parents.
• When that is the case, the fellowship has been disturbed.
• When the child disobeys, he has created a battle of sorts between him and his father or mother.
• Bringing up a strong willed child involves facing many such “battles.”
• There are two ways to end the battle: (1) either the father can pamper his son and change the rules or make an exception; or (2) the son can repent.
• Repentance is what God wants… a change of mind, heart, and attitude on the part of the stubborn self-willed child.
• Our proverb states that when the child changes his attitude and repents and demonstrates the reality of his repentance through obedience, then the battle is over!
• The conflict of the wills has been resolved in a right way… the war is over.
• And thus, when the war is over, there is peace… or to use Solomon’s term, “rest.”
• The deep concerns and anxieties the father had over his stubborn son are replaced with rest and peace.

f. It is the proper response to the correction—THAT brings rest to the father. (And also for the son! War isn’t pleasant for either party.)

2. “He shall give delight unto thy soul.”

a. The obedient son brings “peace of mind and rest” to the father.

b. He also brings “delight.”

• The term speaks of a choice dainty food; a delicacy; gourmet foods.
• It is also used of the joy and pleasure which comes from eating a delicacy.

d. The point is that every time a son obeys his parents, it brings delight to the parent, akin to eating a choice delicacy.

e. In other words, it something very special to parent to see a child obey… and to respond well to correction.

f. That is the case because it is not pleasant for a parent to have to correct a child, especially if it involves spanking. That hurts the parent too.

g. But to see your efforts pay off (the son responds in obedience and a change of attitude) brings great joy. It is like being handed a special handmade chocolate truffle made at the local candy shop for the chocolate lovers… or sushi for the raw fish fans.

h. It is something extra special—a delight—for the parents.

i. Prov. 10:1 – It is a delight because the father knows that a humble, obedient attitude is true wisdom (a fear of God) and that bodes well for the future of his son. That makes the father glad.

j. Of course, sometimes the rest doesn’t come for many years… after many years of a parent’s anxiety and worry for the son.
• Heb. 12:11 – Note the word “afterward.”
» The goal is that immediately after the chastening, there is a softening of the heart and a true repentance.
» But the “afterward” may not come right away.
• Sometimes it takes the son to grow up and get out on his own, and begin to raise his own family before he realizes that his parents weren’t as foolish and old fashioned as he thought.
• The lessons he learned as a youth finally begin to sink in and bear good fruit. God’s Word does not come back void.
• Sometimes the father is blessed with hope and blessing as he sees little glimpses of maturity and wisdom in his son.